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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Pat Appleson Studios, Inc.

Hi Fred,
I'm sure somewhere along the line we've met. I used to work in the Detroit area. Anyway, I'm sitting in the back of the room at the Charlotte radio show, last year. You, are on stage giving your speil.
You were/are 100% correct about where radio is going. The dumb suits just sat there, all of 'em with that "deer in the headlights" look. A year has gone by and it's business as usual. Let's fire the announcing staff, and have one voice trak guy, do the work of five. I don't get it.

It's been a very bad year for my business too. The last station I was fired at was in Miami, 1976. Since then, I've taken your advice. Starting a v/o production company and expanding into full hi def video. I also do engineering installs & consultations.

So, CBS fires what? 100 guys, all with on air experiance just like me. It's tough out there. New aquaintaces, upon meeting me, will say, "you've got a great voice, why aren't you on the radio?". I usually tell them, why would I wanna take a cut in pay? They look at me like I'm Crazy.

Radio left me, I never left Radio.

Best Regards

thomas seabass

The very fact that Jocks are an endangered species tells you all you need to know about the woes of radio.
The problem is with PD's and other middle mgt.
THAT'S the real endangered species: COMPETENT PD's and management.
Most Mgt. comes from Sales and know nothing about programming or promotions. That's why you have an overabundance of syndicated morning shows, Management can't recognize TALENT so they fall back on what 'everyone else is doing' because it's 'safe'. Yeah, and it also sucks! The TALENT has been run out of the biz and replaced with cookie cutter syndication that does NOTHING for the station or the audience. CLASSIC EXAMPLE: During Tropical Storm FAY, Melbourne Florida got pounded with 30 inches of rain, it was a monumental LOCAL event, yet all the syndicated morning shows could talk about was Nascar and Cage fighting. PATHETIC! Imagine the difference a real live LOCAL morning Talent could have made! Instead, yet another opportunity is missed.
C'mon Fred wake up bro! The PD's now a days are basically a joke and thinking out of the box is a foriegn concept to these "another 10 in a row' programming hard heads.
Thank you and good night.

J. Robert Taylor

Management's embracing of the technology, and the hiring of baby sitter PD's are what's wrong with radio today. There is not a single morning show, that doesn't sound the same as every other morning show on every other station in the same market. Every format sounds the same except for the difference in the music. Cookie cutter radio. Why hire 7 or 8 DJ's when all you have to do is hire one or two guys to voicetrack. The PD just plugs the clips into the run, locks the door on the way out, and none of the locals can figure out why no one answers the studio phone any more. Localism is a thing of the past. Human to human contact is no where to be heard. Fun radio is extinct. The consultants haven't helped either. Managers hear that listeners don't want fun radio anymore. Just play the music, with as little fun as possible. Most of the consultants can tell you all this from their desks in Atlanta. Far from your market in Albany. We need to let the PD's program, the managers sell and the DJ's have fun. Radio can be fun to listen to again.


Thanks for some great responses, guys. You've hit on some salient points. At the end of the day, when everyone's got free music on iPods, AOL Radio, or Pandora, the entertainment factor - yes, the DJ, morning show, etc. - will be radio's true content. On the one hand, we keep saying "content is king," but on the other, we keep slimming down the business and shutting up the jocks. Not everyone is capable of being a bona fide "content person" to be sure sure, but the days in which you could develop your act and earn your chops in nights and overnights are a thing of the past.

JC Haze

Thanks for a great blog, Fred. We've all seen the writing on the wall. The report you referred-to at Career-builders.com has the same information I got recently from my local unemployment office: Your field is getting narrower & narrower...the predicted growth is at a NEGATIVE 10-15 percent over the next 5 years.
But I'm ahead of you on the advice you've given. Recently, after 10 years of service to a respected broadcast company, I was 'let go.'

Who's gonna hire a 50 year old PD/Jock? That's the question my wife & I attacked. And that's why I've taken the bull by the horns and have begun the next phase in my life behind the microphone: My voice over business known as JC HAZE VOICEWORKS. I built a neat studio in the house, got some great equipment, and now spend every day building this new business. No...it's not EASY, and it is also(like radio) very competitive. But it's an investment in my future that will eventually reap rewards. And...I can talk for more than 10 seconds without any backlash!(LOL)
Should you, your stations, or any other broadcasters out there need an experienced VO talent(shameless plug), please visit my website: JC HAZE.COM I am a member in good standing at Voices.com and Voice123.com, and would love to be the fresh, new voice of radio!

thomas seabass

I'm with R. Taylor!
He's exactly right. There is not a word out of place in his observations. Dead on.

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